Oral Health Matters

Why Oral Health Matters

Numerous recent scientific studies indicate associations between oral health and a variety of general health conditions — including diabetes and heart disease. In response, the World Health Organization has integrated oral health into its chronic disease prevention efforts “as the risks to health are linked.”


The American Dental Association recommends that dental visits begin no later than a child’s first birthday to establish a “dental home.” Dentists can provide guidance to children and parents, deliver preventive oral health services, and diagnose and treat dental disease in its earliest stages. This ongoing dental care will help both children and adults maintain optimal oral health throughout their lifetimes.

Pregnant dentist talk to patient while hygienist looks on
little girl with floss

Improving the Nation’s Oral Health

Despite all we know about the importance of oral health to overall health, to people’s self-esteem and to their employability, state and federal policies continually sell dental care short.


  • Most states spend 2 percent or less of their Medicaid budgets on dental services.
  • An estimated 164 million work hours are lost each year due to oral disease.


The American Dental Association is committed to improving the nation’s oral health through public education and through legislative advocacy to strengthen funding for dental services provided through public health programs.

Contact ADA Congressional Affairs

Please feel free to contact us with any questions regarding oral health. For more information about our legislative issues, visit ada.org/advocacy.


Chris Tampio, Director, Congressional Affairs          Megan Mortimer, Congressional Lobbyist

tampioc@ada.org, 202.789.5178                               mortimerm@ada.org, 202.898.2402


Jennifer Fisher, Congressional Lobbyist                    Natalie Hales, Congressional Lobbyist

fisherj@ada.org, 202.789.5160                                  halesn@ada.org, 202.898.2404

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